I've been a film buff since childhood, and I love writing about and reviewing my favorites.
A Collection of Spare Parts!
Starring: Jack Scalia, Erin Gray, Evan Lurie
Directed by: Richard Pepin
The early 1990s were the golden age of the straight-to-video era. Scores of low-budget labels like A-Pix, Empire Entertainment, and VidMark (to name just a few) released floods of made-for-VHS junk into local video stores on a weekly basis, mainly in the action, sci-fi, erotic thriller, and horror genres.
Most of these bargain-basement epics were quickly (and rightfully) forgotten, but after years of obscurity, they're now being discovered by a new generation of B movie masochists thanks to cheap genre compilation DVDs and lower-tier streaming services. This brings us to tonight's feature presentation: T-Force—a wonderfully schlocky sci-fi/action mash-up from the fine folks at PM Entertainment, a sadly defunct VHS trash purveyor that was responsible for reams of stylish DTV dreck back in the day, starring the likes of Erik Estrada, Traci Lords, Don "The Dragon" Wilson, and Anna Nicole Smith.
T-Force doesn't have an original bone in its body, but it's a whole lot of explosive fun... and as an added bonus, the viewer gets to play "Guess what movie this scene is ripped off from!" throughout the film.
T-Force takes place sometime in the "near" future (so the filmmakers can get away with using 1990s automobiles, fashions, and tech, with a few token "futuristic" touches). Everyone's lives have been made easier thanks to the creation of "Cybernauts"—human-like robots (Terminator, anyone?) which are programmed to perform menial tasks that humans no longer want to be bothered with, such as chauffeurs, cooks, and maids.
The L.A.P.D. has even adapted a troop of Cybernauts for law enforcement duties (paging RoboCop!) specializing in situations too dangerous for human cops. Due to the lethal nature in which they carry out their orders, these 'nauts have been dubbed the "Terminal Force," or "T-Force" for short.
In the straight-outta-Die Hard opening scene, a group of terrorists (they're even led by a guy with a goatee and a British accent!) have taken hostages inside of an L.A. skyscraper. T-Force arrives and makes short work of the terrorists, but several innocent bystanders are also killed. Responding to the ensuing outcry in the press, the mayor of L.A. (former Buck Rogers hottie Erin Gray) demands that the robots be shut down. Unfortunately, these self-aware Cybernauts decide that they aren't ready to die yet (shades of Blade Runner!) and go "rogue," blowin' a whole lotta stuff up in the process.
Our hero is hard-boiled Lt. Jack Floyd, played by '80s soap opera hunk and direct-to-video mainstay Jack Scalia. Floyd's a hard-drinking, old school, robot-hating cop who gets partnered up with "Cain" (Bobby Johnston), the only Cybernaut who stayed on the "good" side of the law—presumably, he's the only one who studied the First Law of Robotics. The mismatched pair drive around in Jack's beat-up Cadillac (do I smell me some 48 HRS.?) for the rest of the movie, dodging bullets and explosions on their way to shutting down the cyber-threats. Naturally, Scalia's character has a romantic past with Erin Gray's mayor, who has been targeted for extermination by the T-Force, lending the necessary amount of urgency to their efforts.
Obviously, T-Force is goofy as hell, and the acting is pretty much terrible throughout. Scalia is in low-rent Bruce Willis mode for the entire movie, i.e., all smirk and no bite, and the actors playing the robots act...well...robotic.
However, T-Force was filled with enough balls-to-the-wall, shoot-em-up/blow-em-up action sequences that you can almost forgive the ultra-cheesy presentation. Whatever the small budget was for this movie, they must've spent three-quarters of it on large-caliber ammunition and high explosives.
It should be noted, by the way, that this film has no connection whatsoever with the "Mr. T. and the T-Force" comic book series, which was being published around the same time period. That is kind of a shame because if Mr. T. had been involved with this movie, believe me, he definitely woulda brought the PAIN to them robotic fools.
All in all, T-Force kept me entertained, even if it was for all the wrong reasons. Insomniac action fans might want to give it a spin, as long as they're not too picky.
© 2021 Keith Abt